Top 8 road-trip games to play

Simple car games to keep the whole family entertained

  • rock paper scissors

    1. Rock-paper-scissors

    Rock-paper-scissors is an easy, fast game that everyone probably already knows.

    How to play: In rock-paper-scissors, two players will each randomly choose one of three hand signs: rock (made by making a fist), paper (made by laying your hand flat), or scissors (made by holding out two fingers to look like scissors). Both players show their signs at the same time to see who will win.

    Here are the rules that determine which sign beats another:

    Rock wins over scissors (because rock smashes scissors)
    Scissors wins over paper (because scissors cut paper)
    Paper wins over rock (because paper covers rock)

    If both players show the same sign, it's a tie. That's basically the whole game. It's often played in a best-two-out-of-three format as a quick match.

  • Log Cabin

    2. Build a cabin in your mind

    An imagining game where players talk out loud, describing a dream cabin or house. It's best for a small group of players and is ideal for playing on long car rides

    How to play: The game starts with everyone agreeing to build an imaginary cabin. Then each player takes a turn and adds a feature to the cabin. You can included things like these:

    Rooms full of bunk beds
    A movie theatre in the basement with an all-you-can-eat popcorn machine
    A big beautiful bay window right outside the dining area

    The features can include things inside the cabin, the structure of the cabin, and the surrounding landscape.

  • Henri Johnson

    3. Feather

    This is a really simple game kids can play in a car. It's not so much a game as an activity to pass the time, or a way to tease/persecute the person sitting in the middle of the backseat.

    Players basically use the momentum of the car to squish each other.

    How to play: In this game, players basically use the momentum of the car to squish each other.

    It's simple. When the car makes a left turn, everyone in the backseat leans as hard as they can to the right. When the car makes a right turn, everyone leans as hard as they can to the left.

    In theory, the passengers are just responding to the natural forces of momentum, but it's more about exaggerating and pushing into each other as hard as you can.

    This game is the least fun for the person in the middle. The people on the edges get pushed against the windows, true, but half the time they get to be the ones doing the pushing. That poor middle-seater.

    The thing is, even when you're getting squished, it's kind of a fun game and luckily the game never lasts longer than a car ride, so if you're in the middle, the next time you get in, you can hustle for a window seat.

  • John Raubenheimer

    4. Breakfast combo

    This game is a variation of twenty questions. It's a little more complicated than twenty questions and involves more thought for both the guesser and the one answering the questions.

    So if you like twenty questions but it's getting a little old, this'll probably be the perfect game for you to try.

    How to play: Just like twenty questions, this game starts with one player thinking of an item to guess. Unlike twenty questions, it is best if this item is pretty specific.

    So some good examples might be things like this:

    Your phone
    The shirt you're wearing
    A Garmin GPS

    Some not-so-good examples:
    A house

    Does that make sense?

    So, let's say Josh and Paige are playing. Josh is thinking of an item, and he comes up with his phone. Then the person he's playing with gets to start guessing.

    In twenty questions, Paige would ask yes or no questions and try to deduce what the item would be from the provided clues.

    In breakfast combo, Paige just goes ahead and starts guessing things. They can start out random. It's also good if these guesses are more specific rather than broad.

    So, with Paige guessing specific objects and Josh responding. If the item Paige just guessed is closest to the item Josh has in mind, Josh says, "It's more like [current guess] than anything you've said so far."

    If the item Paige just guessed isn't as close to the item as something else she's previously said, Josh says, "It's more like [previous guess] than [current guess], but, like [current guess], [something current guess and item have in common]."

    As you might guess, it's often just as challenging for Josh to come up with answers as it is for Paige to guess. It's fun because it does provide some new variety to the classic game of twenty questions.

    It's a great game to play in the car.

  • Pratley Putty

    5. This or that

    This or that is a simple talking game where players choose which of two items they prefer.

    It's best for a small group, maybe even two players only, and you don't need anything. It's a great getting-to-know you game.

    How to play: Basically players take turns asking and answering questions in the form of "this or that?"

    Mountains or beach?
    Sandals or tennis shoes?
    Cats or dogs?
    Digital watch or analogue?

    Players ask these short questions, and then indicate their preference. It's easy, simple, and a great way for players to get to know each other. It is fun to compare likes and dislikes, too. "What? Cats? No, I'm totally a dog person."

  • would you rather

    6. Would you rather

    A hypothetical talking game where players choose which of two scenarios they'd rather do.

    You can play with any number of players and it's a great two-player game.

    How to play: Basically players take turns asking each other questions starting with "Would you rather" and ending with two different scenarios. Like, "Would you rather have to wear ski goggles for the rest of your life, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask?"

    Some other examples of would you rather questions:

    Would you rather live to be 90 with great health or live an extra ten years past 90 with not-so-great health?
    Would you rather live eating bread only or live eating anything but carbs?
    Would you rather be respected but feared or laughed at and loved? The questions can be thoughtful, silly, or completely hypothetical.
    It's fun for players to think up their own questions, too. Once someone asks a question, everyone else must answer the question. Then another player gets to ask a question.

  • Cybertracker

    7. Sing a song

    Sing a Song is a simple, flexible time-killing activity for anyone who loves music and guessing games.

    How to play: This is just a simple guessing game involving singing, but singing a song only one word at a time. One person starts out by thinking up a song and then they starts singing the song out loud, but only the first word.

    The song might change several times as players take turns adding notes and words to what they think the song is. You can have play go in a circle, or just have players sing out in any order when they think they know the next word.

  • Q20

    8. Questions only

    A funny talking game for a group. Players try to communicate using only questions, and it can be more challenging than you think.

    How to play: The point of the game is to hold a conversation using only questions. Players take turns asking questions to each other, and the first person to say a statement is out.

    The questions don't have to make sense or logically respond to one another; the trick is just to get another player to fall into the habit of automatically answering a question.

    An example:

    IAN: Why is the sky blue?
    LILLY: What are you doing?
    IAN: Where are you going?
    LILLY: What time is it? IAN: Where is my hairbrush?
    LILLY: Where do you think it is?
    IAN: I don't know. LILLY: Haha! I win!
    (Ian just said a statement, so he loses.)

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